The year 2000 election was the most closely contested of all presidential elections in the United States. The election involved strong candidates George Bush and Al Gore of Republican and Democratic parties respectively. The closeness of the race gave rise to an election petition challenging the election of George Bush as president. At the epicenter of the crisis was the state of Florida where the democrats complained of election malpractices that was aimed at favoring the Republican candidate.
The conflict heightened and the Florida Supreme Court took the matter as required by the legislative laws of the state. The court argued that the democrats ...view middle of the document...
Questions on the logical essence of election laws were raised. The equal protection clause was referenced in a manner that the law did not allow the votes to be subjected to different methods of counting. This was in connection with the request of Al Gore for a manual recount of votes in five counties that seemed to be skewed to democrats. On this, the judges agreed on a 7- 2 vote.
Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, Justices Breyer and Justice Ginsburg dissented on the Supreme Court ruling. They argued that the state of Florida could solve election issues effectively using her legislative laws.
Justice Stevens argues that the United States constitution guarantees every state a right to determine the way through which they select their presidential electors. He argued that on matters concerning state laws, it was of best interest for the Supreme Court of the state to provide interpretation. The judge thus dismissed the involvement of federal judicial service on matters of state elections. Justice Stevens quotes article II which states that ‘each state shall appoint, in such a manner as the legislature may direct, a number of electors’. This clause implies that the state of Florida had the right to decide the electors who would vote in the president. Thus, federal intervention was not a viable alternative.
It is well stated in the constitution that states shall decide the number of electors and election procures through their legislatures. As such, justice Stevens arguments was valid such that the election petition could have been handled by the Florida supreme court with the abstinence of the US supreme court. Having an appellate jurisdiction, Florida Supreme Court was inconsistent with article II where it derives its authority.
In his judgment, Stevens asserts that even the petitioners were not right in asserting that votes could be recounted manually in some counties. This was not consistent with the law of equal protections where votes are supposed to be weighed equally. He continued to explain the ‘intent of a voter’ on the side where a vote will be cast if given an opportunity. As such, the democrats were not justified in claiming that democrat followers were not allowed to vote. However, Stevens acclaims that if the intent of a voter is clearly seen, then the vote should be accepted as legal.
This argument is valid since disenfranchisement of votes that are uncounted and reveal the intent of the voters is a violation of electoral rights. However, the code does not hinder states from counting all legal votes until a clear winner is determined. Thus, all Florida voters ought to have all their votes counted.
Justice Souter argued that if the state of Florida was allowed to determine the election petition through its own means, all the political processes would have worked out between the state and congress as stated in 3 U.S.C. 15. He implied that there was no need to link the US Supreme Court to such an issue. In his...